Ryuta Kawashima
Ryuta Kawashima
Ryuta Kawashima
Director, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University
Research Theme
  • Functional brain imaging
  • development of brain functions
1985 Graduated from Tohoku University School of Medicine
1989 Graduated from the Graduate School of Medicine with an MD
1991 Guest researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden
1993 Teaching Assistant at the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University
1998 Lecturer at the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University
2001 Professor at New Industry Creation Hatchery Center, Tohoku University
2006 Professor, Department of Functional Brain Imaging of the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer
2008 as well as the Division of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
2008-2011 Distinguished Professor, Tohoku University
2009 Director, Smart Ageing International Research Center, IDAC
2014 Director, IDAC
Research topics
[Industry-University Cooperative R&D]
He has succeeded in developing and spreading the use of a new system to improve the cognitive function of senior citizens suffering from senile dementia as well as healthy people by top-down application of the findings of basic research involving functional brain imaging (Kawashima et al. 2005). The system to improve the cognitive function of dementia patients, called “learning therapy,” is used at more than 400 facilities (as of the end of 2006) for the care of more than 6000 such patients. The economic effect of the system has been estimated to reduce nursing care insurance costs by 100,000 yen per person annually (Organization of the Learning Therapy). The system has also been proven to be effective in preventing dementia (Uchida & Kawashima 2008), and is utilized for the welfare of senior citizens in 56 municipalities, including Sendai City, Shinagawa Ward, Yokohama City, and Gifu Prefecture.
[Industry-University Cooperative R&D]
Through industry-university cooperative R&D which considered brain function imaging techniques as the seeds, he succeeded in developing a new category of industry with the concept of “train your brain,” and created educational, publishing, IT, and entertainment industries to improve brain function. According to an estimate by a private think tank (Yano Research Institute), it is estimated that a new market worth 23 billion yen was created in 2006. For these activities, he was ranked in the Top 50 Innovators in New Media for 2006 (by Producers Guild of America New Media Council) and awarded a grand prize in the annual Buzzwords Contest and the Trend Award.
[Industry-University Cooperative R&D]
An ultra-small NIRs system has recently developed by corroboration with Hitachi. This system can visualize not only brain activities but also quality of communicative activities. We have been investigating neuro-marketing research using this system.
[Social awareness-raising activities]
Through his publications for the general public, he has raised awareness about and spread throughout society knowledge of brain function. He has been writing an article weekly in a national newspaper (Mainichi Shimbun) since April 2006 concerning the topic “Train Your Brain.” He has also written a series of articles in local newspapers, including Kahoku Shimpo, Hokkaido Shimbun, and Chu-nichi Shimbun. For these activities, he was awarded the Nice Step Researcher Award in 2006 from the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTP) of the Ministry Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) as well as the 9th Japan PR Grand Prize from a private company in December 2006.
Social Activities
[Editorial memberships in academic journals]
2004 2008 Neuroimage (Academic Press)
2004 Neuroinformatics (Humana Press)
2004 2008 Brain and Neurology (Igaku Shoin)
2005 Current Medical Imaging Review (Bentham Science Publishers)
2006 Social Neuroscience (Psychology Press)
2009 Cognitive Computation (Springer)
[Social Action Programs]
2003 Board member, Japan Mathematics Association
2004 2005 Member of Japanese Language and Culture Committee, National Cultural Council (Cultural Affairs Agency)
2004 2006 Member of sub-committee on “Social Technology”, panoramic and predictive survey concerning the mid-and-long term development of science and technology (The Institute of Future Technology)
2005 Researcher in science and technology, NISTEP, MEXT
2005 Director, Organization of the Learning Therapy
2005 Member of the Traffic Safety Education Promotion Committee for the Elderly (Japan Automobile Association)
2005 Advisor to the Education Administration of Ono City, Hyogo Prefecture
2007 Advisor to the Education Administration of Ritto City, Gifu Prefecture
2008 2009 Member of the expert panel on “Harmony between work and daily life” of the Gender Equality Meeting (Cabinet Office)
2008 Chairman of the Miyagi Master Examination Promotion Conference (Miyagi Prefecture)
2008 2009 Vice-chairman of the Council for Education (Miyagi Prefecture)
2008 2009 Temasek Polytecnic Distinguished Advisor(Singapore)